Liberty is a beautiful ship but service is slipping: Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review by St. Paul Sailor
Overall Member Rating
Liberty is a beautiful ship but service is slipping
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
First, our embarkation process was very crowded but it seemed to flow pretty efficiently for the number of people who were there. We arrived at the port about 12:30 for a 1:30 embarkation. It felt like 60% of the ship did the same thing. Despite some computer problems on RCCL's end, we were able to complete all of our pre-cruise reservations online, which expedited the process. (They had "server" problems for 2 days.)
The Liberty of the Seas is a beautiful ship. We enjoyed all of the amenities of the large ship. We are comfortable walking the distance of the ship many times a day and climbing a few stairs so we got around quite well. The layout of the ship was pretty logical except that deck 3 is cut in half and we often needed to go up a level to get to More the other half of deck 3. Overall, a pretty small gripe. Touch-screen displays, mounted throughout the ship, were a fantastic aid to us getting around.
We enjoyed our balcony cabin. We found our room and bathroom comfortable and clean. The layout of the bathroom was very good, one of the best we have seen.
The drawback of this trip was the service. It hit a new low. We had a reservation in the main dining room for early seating. Arriving in our seats at 6PM on the first night was pretty easy. We finally got service at 7:10. Yes, a 70-minute wait with an apology. Our service team was accurate but glacially slow for the entire cruise. It was common to wait 20 minutes for refills or a visit from our waiter or assistant waiter. We thought we drew a short straw for service teams until we visited the main dining room for 3 breakfasts and 2 lunches and experienced similar service from the other teams. While they were polite and accurate, they were incredibly slow. Is this because RCCL is cutting back on staff or is the ship just too large for the wait staff? I don't know, these are just guesses.
We experienced similar service encounters when walking the halls. On other ships, most employees go out of their way to provide a warm greeting. On this ship, everybody was heads-down and working hard but not warm and inviting. Once, my wife was pushed out of the way by a busy cabin steward. The only exception seemed to be our Cabin Steward, who was wonderful. Even sales associates in the stores ignored us until we had a purchase in hand--even when the store was quiet.
The quality of meals in the main dining room were good, not great. This is not the 5-star dining of years past but it seemed appropriate for the price. All of our meals were prepared correctly but we found some meals dry. More often than not, beef dishes were pretty tough.
We enjoyed our stop at Cozumel. Some of us took the ATV tour in the jungle while others went helmet diving. Both were thoroughly enjoyed. (I'm sure I would have saved some money by booking these locally but I enjoy the convenience of having tickets sent to our stateroom.) Our excursions left at 8AM and we were able to get back to the ship by noon to change and have a quick lunch. We then grabbed a cab at the terminal to go shopping for the afternoon. This all went very well. We then chose to walk back to the ship after shopping to see the sights at our pace. (You have to enjoy walking as this is a 90-minute walk.)
We enjoyed all of the shows. "Up In The Air" was a little artsy for some but solid. The ice skating show was good as well but the choreography seemed to challenge the skaters. Saturday Night Fever was very good. There was also a magician who was a little corny but very good. The Cruise Director was visible at many events and did a good job.
We were a little disappointed at the long line during disembarkation. For some reason, we got a late start and RCCL staff emptied the ship pretty quickly so we wound up standing in line for more than an hour to get through customs. This was a strain on all but the healthiest of passengers.
All in all, we had a good time and I feel it was appropriate value for the money. We were very disappointed at the service because that improvement could have made the cruise great. I was a little concerned that we would enjoy such a large ship but my concern was unfounded. Less
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